$72,500 is the amount of money the Student Organization of Activity Planning (SOAP) spent on a concert that only 250 people showed up for at $10 a ticket.
For an event that was expected to draw near 2000, at a concert with various popular artists on the rise, one can’t help but wonder why the turnout of this year’s Gull Fest After Party was such a letdown.
Junior Brendan Wrisk attended the Gull Fest After Party for the first time this year and was let down by the lack of student attendance.
“I love the artists but I felt bad because they deserved more people to show up,” Wrisk said.
There are various factors that may have affected students; decision to attend the event this year, the first being that the concert was not advertised nearly enough.
The daily Center for Student Involvement and Leadership (CSIL) email was the only place that even mentioned the concert aside from a video post on SOAP’s social media page, and for an event that should yield a majority of the student body, an email is probably not the most effective way to reach students.
The second factor that had an impact on the low attendance rate is the venue. When it is 75 degrees and sunny outside, who wants to be packed into a small gymnasium?
In previous years Gull Fest had been held outside and the student turnout was greater.
On top of the undesirable venue, the concert was also held on a Sunday. A day when people like to be lazy, stay in bed, and catch up on homework.
This year Gull Fest was a 3-day event, the first two days having a festival-like atmosphere with jugglers, magicians and bull riding, and the third day being the concert.
Perhaps next year SOAP should rethink this scheduling to yield a better turnout.
Another change that the organization made in hopes to pull in more people was the idea of allowing people who aren’t students attend the event. This change ultimately had little to no impact on the turnout and that could come back to the issue of advertising and promoting the event.
If people don’t know about something, they cannot attend it.
The final flaw in the Gull Fest After Party centers around the element of security. There is a large difference between students feeling safe versus students feeling smothered by the amount of law enforcement at an event.
After a full bodily check at the door – with a metal detector and all – police officers surrounded the entrance, as well as lined the walls of the concert.
If a concert is meant to be a fun atmosphere, why did students feel like they were spending the evening in custody.
The attendance of officers might have been greater than the attendance of SU students which highlights the final reason why Gull Fest has gone downhill in attendance rates over the years.
The future of Gull Fest is a questionable one, and its fate lies in the hands of SOAP to get students attending the event.
By CAROLINE STREETT
Featured photo: Ripe kicking off Gullfest 2017 (Francis Clark image).